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Louisiana members impressed with ARA's Certified MEWP Trainer program

by Connie Lannan

Kevin Gern leading the ARA of Louisiana's MEWP train-the-trainer program

ARA’s Kevin Gern leads the Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) training.

An incident in which a customer, who was properly familiarized, drove a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) into an overhead power line was a jarring reminder for Chuck Oge, owner, Oge’s Rent-All Center, Lafayette, La., of how dangerous this type of equipment can be when the operator is not following proper procedures. That was a strong impetus for Oge to not only host the American Rental Association (ARA) Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) Train-the-Trainer program that was offered Nov. 9 by the ARA of Louisiana but also have two of his service managers take part.

“We were fortunate that no one got hurt in that incident, but it was a great teaching lesson that this equipment is dangerous. You have to be aware of what you are doing with those things,” he says, adding that he was impressed with the ARA training that was offered.

“It was a wonderful training — very in-depth and intuitive for the guys regarding all the new OSHA and ANSI standards. Our goal was to keep our company up to date so we can better inform our customers on proper usage and such when they do rent our aerial equipment. We want everyone to stay safe,” says Oge, who serves as ARA of Louisiana vice president.

The training, which satisfies Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements as well as the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A92 standards, included a self-paced online classroom portion available through ARA’s RentalU and then the hands-on training that was administered by ARA-certified master trainers.

Alex Zachary, general manager, Redline Rentals (HHR), Natchitoches, La., is glad he attended. “It was excellent. The instructor was great — really engaging. He provided the instruction that was needed and not the unneeded chaff,” he says, adding that the checklists ARA provided “were very helpful. I will be training at least seven people in my operation, so we will use these.”

Zachary also appreciated the strong “emphasis on safety for the well-being of your people, your customers and your company. Safety is extremely important. Being on the right side of reducing employee risk and liability will always be a peace-of-mind booster and a financially smart move. I enjoyed the training very much. It was an excellent value,” he adds.

Byron Alleman in the MEWP

Byron Alleman on the platform

Byron Alleman, owner, Lafayette Rental Service, Lafayette, who serves as ARA of Louisiana secretary and treasurer, has been a certified trainer for quite a while.

“I wanted to go to the training to compare the simplicity of it to what I have done previously. I have my certification through another program, but I was looking for a simpler and quicker way to process my employees and still have them qualified as an operator,” Alleman says.

He wasn’t disappointed. “It was awesome. The trainer was excellent. The training accomplished all the goals I thought needed to be accomplished. ARA’s program covers all the important safety aspects. It was very well done. I look forward to training my two new employees through this program,” he adds.

While Alleman liked both the online and group training, he particularly appreciated the way the group session was handled. “We did a lot of training as a group, but the part about how to handle the equipment was done individually, which was good,” he says.

Zachary agrees, adding that he enjoyed the “good camaraderie of the group and that it was a very interactive session.”

For these rental operators, the training was exactly what they needed. And “it came at the right time,” Oge adds. “We will train our employees who use this equipment during our slow winter months.”